Radical Muslim students made death threats while interrupting a lecture on blasphemy by a prominent human rights activist, it was claimed today.
Maryam Namazie, who fled Iran’s repressive regime and now campaigns against Islamic extremism, was speaking at the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society of Goldsmiths in London.
However, the event on Monday night was disrupted by students from the university’s Islamic Society – which claimed that it would ‘violate their safe space’ because of Ms Namazie’s outspoken views.
One student switched off the projector after the speaker showed a cartoon of Muhammad, while a member of the audience claimed that an activist pointed his fingers at his head in the shape of a gun and said ‘boom’ in a bid to intimidate him.
The Islamic Society spoke out in advance of the talk – titled ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of ISIS’ – insisting Ms Namazie should not be allowed to speak because of her ‘bigoted views’.
They pointed to a number of controversial comments she has made in the past, including describing the veil as a symbol of ‘far-Right Islamism’ and calling the niqab a ‘bin bag’.
The president of the society wrote to the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society saying: ‘We feel having her present will be a violation to our safe space, a policy which Goldsmiths SU adheres to strictly, and my society feels that all she will do is incite hatred and bigotry.’
When the lecture went ahead and planned, a number of Islamic Society activists attended and tried to disrupt Ms Namazie – even switching off her PowerPoint when she showed a ‘Jesus and Mo’ cartoon which depicts the Prophet alongside Christ, according to theLondon Student.
Speaking after the event, Ms Namazie said: ‘After my talk began, ISOC “brothers” started coming into the room, repeatedly banging the door, falling on the floor, heckling me, playing on their phones, shouting out, and creating a climate of intimidation in order to try and prevent me from speaking.
‘I continued speaking as loudly as I could. They repeatedly walked back and forth in front of me.
‘In the midst of my talk, one of the ISOC Islamists switched off my PowerPoint and left. The university security had to intervene and remain in the room as I continued my talk.’
She added that a number of Muslim women stayed to listen to her talk and engage in debate with her, then apologised for the disruption caused by the other students.
‘Freedom of expression and the right to criticise and leave Islam without fear and intimidation is a basic human right,’ Ms Namazie concluded.
‘We have a responsibility to fight for these universal values at British universities and also across the globe.’
One member of the audience, lecturer and journalist Reza Moradi, said that while he was comforting a distressed young woman one of the protesters made a gesture which implied he was threatening to shoot him.
‘I was asking this guy to be quiet – he took his hand and held it to his head like a gun,’ Mr Moradi told MailOnline. ‘He passed towards me and he made the noise “boom” – it was very intimidating.’
In a statement, the Islamic Society accused the atheist group of ‘harassment’ and called Ms Namazie a ‘vile Islamophobe’, denying that any of its members issued death threats.
The society said: ‘Muslim students who attended the event were shocked and horrified by statements made by Namazie, and peacefully expressed their dissent to the disrespectful cartoons shown of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
‘These students were subsequently made subject to unnecessary bullying, abuse and violence by the ASH society and security staff. Some students were even forcibly removed from the event.’
A spokesman for the university said: ‘Goldsmiths, University of London supports freedom of speech. The university follows a set of regulations to help ensure that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees of the university and for visiting speakers.’
It’s too bad that it offends the University Islamic Society if a visiting speaker has a view that differs from their own. Actually, too bad, so sad, because people aren’t going to be bullied by some spoiled brat student that turns off a projector. The images will still be seen, and if you aren’t there to learn, then get the heck out of there and hightail it back to whatever ‘safe space’ you have created for yourself.
What a bunch of whiny losers.